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In research, source criticism is very important whether it concerns the reliability of information, its content or relevance. Especially in case of Internet sources you should be aware of the fact that no one evaluates or oversees the information there. Electronic and other information in university libraries always meet the basic quality criteria. However, in every case you are responsible for using reliable and correct information in your studies.
Second-hand citing is not good practice. You should always use the primary source in your work. Do not cite a document via another (secondary) document.
If you use Internet search engines (like Google and Google Scholar) remember to be extra careful with the correctness of the contents. We suggest you always rely on your own university's collections in demanding information search tasks.
If you use Google Scholar in your searches, check the settings so that you have access to the full texts according to your university's license agreements. According to Google Scholar, "online access to library subscriptions is usually restricted to patrons of that library. You may need to login with your library password, use a campus computer, or configure your browser to use a library proxy." Therefore, add Library links in the settings of Scholar and save them.
The difference between a scientific and a popular source
In your research, the main part of your information sources should be scientific. Therefore, it is important to be able to tell the difference between scientific and popular sources. Popular publications are often named 'magazines' and scientific ones 'journals'. Newspapers and trade journals are considered popular. In engineering, trade journals are important in delivering occupational information. You may refer to some popular sources in your research but it cannot rely only on those sources.
Scientific journals are written by experts and academics. The language used in scientific journals is academic and technical. Specialized vocabulary of the discipline is often used. Articles in scientific journals often follow the IMRD format: introduction, methods, results and discussion. The articles always contain a bibliography and in-text references. Scientific journals contain reports of original research, in-depth analysis of issues related to the discipline and academic level book reviews. Academic journals are peer reviewed. It means that experts of the discipline have evaluated the contents, language, research methods, and results. Peer-reviewing is normally anonymous.
A scholarly article presents scientific information which is based on scientific research. It follows a set format, which is explained in the document Anatomy of a Scholarly Article. Study the document carefully!
Study the Publication forum classifications
The Publication forum is a Finnish classification forum for all disciplines. You can find classifications for journals, conferences and book publishers. Classification levels are 1= basic level, 2= leading level and 3=highest level.
Study Impact Factor (IF) classification
The Impact Factor (IF) is calculated by dividing the number of citations to a journal's articles by the number of published articles in that journal during a time period. Journal and High Cited data (JHCD) is the database where you dan see these indicators.
The Scopus database contains indicators called Cite Score. It is calculated the same way as the impact factor.
Is the article peer-reviewed? - Study the Ulrichsweb database.
Ulrichsweb Serials Directory contains information of about 300 000 journals. symbol indicates that the journal is peer reviewed.